When people think of Washington, they tend to either imagine the Space Needle, the rain of the Olympic Peninsula, or the wildflowers on Mount Rainier. While of these are incredible parts of the state in the Pacific Northwest, there is another bit of it that visitors need to know about. Washington has incredible lakes.
With so many tourists heading to the coast and cities, locals tend to vacation either in the San Juan Islands, or at one of the many beautiful lakes that the state has to offer. Here are a few of the best ones according to Washingtonians:
Lake Crescent is one of those places that doesn’t look like it should be real. Situated near the famous Hurricane Ridge (famous for its peaks that look like the Alps) in Olympic National Park, this lake is very out of the way. It’s in the middle of hundreds of miles of thick pine forests, which means it’s never super crowded. Locals love the beautiful white lodge that sits on the sparkling lake, with the quaint guest cabins studding the shore. The long dock is what it’s known for, since it’s perfect for jumping into the cold waters.
Visitors can enjoy the banks, canoe, swim, do cannonballs off the dock or simply enjoy the sun. It’s serene, and is the best place to relax and reconnect with nature. There are plenty of campgrounds nearby to stay at, and plenty of hikes to enjoy. Make sure to explore the stunning region while you’re there, even if you end up staying at the lodge. The best time to come is in August, when the water has warmed up a little and the skies are the most clear!
About five hours east of Seattle, Lake Chelan is famous for its 300 days of summer and its location in the wine region of the state. Locals know this lake as being the only one in Washington that’s warm, so it can be busy throughout every month in summer, late spring, and early autumn. The water is completely clear and glittering turquoise, which is a stunning contrast to the warmth of the hills around it. The town itself is beautiful, with bookshops, art galleries, and plenty of great cafes. Local Myth Pizza is considered by many Washingtonians to be the best pizza in the state, so be sure to pop in at least once for a cheese-less margarita pizza. It’s the perfect fuel for after a sunny day of swimming.
Visitors can enjoy boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, and much more on the water besides swimming. There are also lots of campgrounds and hiking trails to enjoy around the huge lake, as well as orchards and wineries. There is so much to explore, making it an awesome week-long getaway and popular honeymoon spot!
This lake sits in the Quinalt Rainforest in Olympic National Park. The lake is great for a cold dip, pine views, and endless paddle boarding through the glacial valley. The Lake Quinalt Lodge is known for being absolutely beautiful, and many come to the lake just to see the stunning lodge. Their warm fire is perfect for a long day of playing in the lake, enjoying the dock, biking, or hiking in the nearby rainforest!
This beautiful lake is in Moran State Park on Orcas Island, in the San Juan Islands. There are so many lakes dotting the islands, but this lake is a favorite due to its surrounding pines and location. Orcas Island is a dreamy spot in the Salish Sea, boasting the best sea-glass beaches on the West Coast. There are endless amazing views, orca whales, and incredible hikes. This lake is ideal for those who want to be near the sea and beaches, but still want to enjoy the crisp freshwater of a lake. Enjoy paddle boarding, refreshing swims, and plenty of time in nature.
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Photo: Emily Iris Degn